Zulu Giant
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Zulu Giant
P Introduced Unknown Photo: E. Pandian Tensingh
Common name: Zulu Giant, Carrion plant, Toad plant
Botanical name: Ceropegia gigantea    Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Stapelia gigantea, Stapelia nobilis

Zulu Giant is a clump forming succulent plant growing up to 20 cm tall. It is fleshy with erect green stems 3 cm thick. In summer, it bears large star-shaped five-petalled flowers up to 25 cm in diameter. The flowers are red and yellow, wrinkled, with a silky texture and fringed with hairs, that can be as long as 8 mm. They have the smell of rotting flesh, in order to attract the flies which pollinate them. Because of the foul odor of its flower, the plant can act as an appetite suppressant in humans. The leaves are hook-shaped spines and are placed on each of the four wings on the stems. The cross-section of the stem looks x-shaped with flat, thick portions at every side. Zulu Giant is native to south eastern Africa, cultivated as a curiosity plant elsewhere.

Identification credit: E. Pandian Tensingh Photographed in cultivation in Chennai suburb.

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